This post is in honour of a baby girl stillborn six years ago today. It contains words and pictures that some may find triggering.
It was early yesterday morning. Too early and I crawled onto the couch and snuggled up to Ziggy who was watching TV in his pyjamas. My head was resting against his little chest and I could hear his heart beating, steady and true.
And I thought about what a simple joy that was, to hear my son’s heartbeat, to hold his warm little body against mine.
The first night I met Sally, she told me about Hope. We were at a Thai restaurant, sipping wine during a night out for kinder mums. I talked about my kids, she talked about hers. We both had three children. It was a normal conversation between two mums. All except for the fact that her first child, a daughter, had been stillborn some four years before.
I don’t know if I’m unusual, but I wanted to know all there was to know about Hope. I’m not great at small talk and much better at stuff that matters and this, THIS mattered. I liked Sally instantly and so it felt only natural to want to know her story – all of it.
Hope’s own story was a short one. Devastatingly so. She died the day before she was born, and you have to wonder if there is a God because none of this makes sense. A perfectly formed baby girl, whose heart had been beating for almost 41 weeks, suddenly slipped away.
Photo by Gavin Blue of Heartfelt
I think about my gorgeous friend, Sally, and her equally adorable husband, Simon, and I wonder at how they got to here. They are such fun and generous people. They have had so much stolen from them and yet they walk around in this world as though they still believe it is a good place.
I wonder about how other people grieve children who have passed. I expect that memories of their life would be a source of comfort. Remembering a smile, a personality quirk, something that anchored them to this world and made them real.
Sally and Simon spent nine months falling in love with the idea of who their baby would be and in the end, they will never truly know. But she was real.
Hope Angel Heppleston was born Tuesday 19th of August 2008. She weighed 8 pounds and was 51cm long. She had blue eyes and light brown hair that was stuck in curls to her sweet head, the way newborn baby hair always seems to be. She looked just like her Mama but she had her Daddy’s toes. No-one is sure where her big feet came from.
She was such a beautiful baby.
Hope would be six years old today.
I wonder whether she would have watched Frozen over and over again just like her sister, Juliet. Or maybe she would have loved Spiderman and riding her bike like her brother, Angus. Would she have spoken with a vaguely British accent like they do?
It’s hard to think about what her laughter may have sounded like when she never got the chance to make her first cry.
Hope's voice is a thing that never existed in this world. So many dreams for a much cherished daughter, turned to dust. And how a parent loses a child and doesn’t tear the world down with their bare hands, I don’t know.
But Hope Angel DID exist. She was the incredible feeling of butterflies in her mother’s tummy, and then the impossible roly poly of a baby grown too big for her home. She was the swelling belly that her Daddy would press his palm against and sometimes, if he timed it just right, catch her kicks.
Hope was nine of the best months of her parents’ lives.
She is loved immensely and missed eternally.
I have known Sally and Simon less than two years, but I carry their daughter in my heart.
I carry Hope in my heart.
Happy Birthday, precious angel.
Photo by Gavin Blue of Heartfelt
You can read a previous post about Hope here.
You can read Sally's blog here.
You can help support the Stillbirth Foundation Australia here or here.